As a stay-at-home dad, I don’t get a lot of downtime. If my newborn son is asleep or chilling in the swing, my daughter is likely to be painting the walls with strawberry yogurt or balancing atop a rocking chair to reach an out of reach picture frame. Conversely, if my daughter is down for a nap or watching Wild Kratts, my son is screaming for a bottle or whining about being in his saucer for too long. It’s exhausting, and accelerating the graying of my luxuriant hair. But every so often I do manage to get a bit of a break—even when little Zachary is awake. So what did I decide to do with that precious time?
I created the Men’s Only Reading Club.
There are three solemn rules to the Men’s Only Reading Club:
RULE #1: Men only!
I can’t stress this enough. MEN ONLY. Once my wife got home early and tried to walk in on the club. She was promptly ushered out post haste with an “OUT WOMAN!” She didn’t much care for that, sure, but without rules the world would descend into anarchy. I can’t have that. The men’s only rule also extends to other manner of species as well. For instance, my cats Monty and Ike are allowed in the Men’s Only Reading Club. While they have admittedly been fixed, they used to be men, and that’s good enough for me.
RULE #2: Reading must take place!
Call it elitist if you must, but the Men’s Only Reading Club is a celebration of the mind and the written word. I read my book and Zachary reads his. (Okay…his is technically a crinkle book, but he’s 5-months-old. Cut the lug some slack. And yes, the cats are incapable of reading. I get that. But they add a certain classy, relaxed quality the Men’s Only Reading Club is hungry for. Plus they scratch the door if I close the door.)
RULE #3: No pants!
Speaking of class, the Men’s Only Reading Club has a strict no pants policy. Thankfully, the four of us—cats included—have incredibly shapely legs, and we’re not afraid to show them off and take notes.
If you think I’m making all this stuff up, I promise you that I’m not. Oh sure, I didn’t decide to create this club one day and enforce these rules. Instead, I found myself looking for a way to relax during the day when Audrey was otherwise occupied. So, with Zachary unable to move, and me looking to get in some recuperative book time, we started relaxing on the bed with our books. The cats soon got in on the act and the club suddenly got its start. And I’m glad it did. It’s become an oasis in the desert for me—a nice, well-deserved break during the swirling maelstrom that is my stay-at-home life.
And as for why Rule #3 exists, well…
I just don’t like to wear pants if I can get away with it. Don’t we all?